PSE React Review

PSE React

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Pros

  • A mid-range price point bow with the flagship Evolve Cam System
  • 26-31.5-inches of draw length adjustment
  • High 80-90% let off
  • 3.9-pounds bare bow

Cons

  • Mid range price point of $799 may still be too high for some
  • Looks a bit like a budget PSE bow instead of the high end aggressive design of the Pro Series models
  • Polymer limb pockets have a bad reputation on some forums

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Editors' review

PSE has always produced bows with every shooter and every budget in mind. The PSE React has the flagship Evolve Cam System and similar specifications to their Pro Series aluminum riser bow with a lighter weight and a smaller price tag. The smaller MSRP of $799 is still not considered a budget friendly bow, but it will allow shooters to outfit the bow with accessories for the same cost as a bare flagship model. With the cheaper price does come cheaper components, but they are all still very functional and backed by a giant in the archery industry. With all that said, the React is a bow worth considering based on how it shoots, how the cams feel during the entire shot sequence, and the adjustability of the bow overall. The ability to reach 330 feet per second or have a 90% let off option is outstanding for many hunters on the market in 2018.

Finish

The PSE dipping process has always been well done. Typically, the riser cutouts are aggressive and have well defined edges. The machining on the React riser is a bit different than what is featured on the flagship models in that it is a bit more rounded, but the design still fits within the PSE lineup. The React can be purchased in four finishes including the brand new Kryptek Highlander, the returning Mossy Oak Break-up or Skullworks 2, or all black. No matter which option shooters choose, the React is going to look great with the popping red PSE limb decals.

Riser

The riser is well designed for the React, but it does look a little different in styling than the more expensive Pro model aluminum series bows. Instead of the aggressive angular cutouts, the React gets a more rounded look. It is still clearly part of the PSE lineage, but seems a bit more tame than some of the other current year models. The riser is also less reflexed than some of the other PSE models, which will theoretically help out a bit with the overall forgiveness of the bow and also gives it a 7-inch brace height many shooters will enjoy. Engineers did a nice job on this bow to keep the barebow weight right at 3.9-pounds, which makes it quite a bit lighter than the more expensive PSE bows for 2018. For years, the standard of lightweight and heavyweight bows has been at 4-pounds, so by those standards, the React is considered a lightweight model.

With the price of the React being a little more reasonable than the Pro Series, PSE had to make some cuts to the technology and updates, and most of those were done with the riser. To keep the bow at a more reasonable price, PSE engineers left a standard cable rod and cable slide system. This works well for shooters, but has less technology advancements that the flexible rods or roller systems featured on other PSE models. Engineers did keep multiple sight mounting holes for shooters to choose from, which has been very helpful in the past to get the most out of a single pin sight in regards to long distance shooting. Although the technology in the riser are not as advanced as they could be, everything functions well and would have been the industry standard a few years ago. Shooters should not be turned off by the lack of new features, and be excited to have the flagship cam system on a more reasonably priced bow.

Grip

The grip on the React is fully integrated into the riser design. There are no side plates, and nothing to screw on or off. The grip is machined into the riser, and engraved with the PSE logo on the side. The React grip is the same as th Epix, which is a little narrower than some of the other PSE Pro Series models. It is nice the bows around the same price point are similar in size and shape, but it would be outstanding if the entire line up featured the same grip so shooters could easily transition within the same brand to a familiar feeling grip. The comfort is good enough and the narrower feel is great for repeatability shot after shot. There is a trend in archery at the moment to use grip tape to give the shooter the right feel for them, and this is a good platform to build off because shooters can add some girth without the grip getting too bulky. For hunting, this grip is going to be chilly even with gloves on, but the old rubber inserts on the side of PSE grips did not add too much in terms of warmth either so it is not a major change in feel from older style PSE grips.

Limbs

The React limbs have the standard width from previous years. Just recently, PSE has gone to a wider limb on their premium bows, but the React stays with the previous width limbs. Shooters can choose either 60 or 70-pound maximum weight limbs for the React as well. It would be nice for a larger draw weight range, but this should cover most shooters. The limb pockets are polymer, which have taken some negative feedback with forum users, but at the end of the day, PSE has high quality standards and the polymer limb pockets are going to function perfectly fine. Part of the cost savings measure went into the riser technology, and the rest went into the less expensive pocket design. This decision should not deter anyone away from owning a React bow.

Eccentric System

The Evolve Cam System is one of the most impressive cams PSE has released. This cam has been featured on tons of bows, most of which are priced at a premium price point, and rightfully so. The Evolve Cam System has the ability for 80-90% let-off by adjusting the module, and is capable of draw lengths on the React from 26 all the way out to 31 1/2- inches. All adjustments can be made with the rotating draw length module, without the need for a bow press. This cam system pulls amazingly well for the speed and energy it produces. The Evolve Cam on the React bow is capable of speeds up to 330 feet per second. For a bow priced like the React, there is arguably no better cam system available.

The Evolve Cam is has a great deal of technology to go along with the adjustability. For starters, the Evolve Cam eliminates yokes in a sense by creating a quad track binary system. Instead of the cables attaching to the outside of the axels, the cable is split and attaches on the new tracks close to the center of the cam. This takes out a potential problem of older cam systems, by drastically minimizing cam lean. With everything closer to the center of the cam, the limbs no longer have tons of pressure on them causing them extra stress.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

For shooters not experiencing 90% let-off before, it is worth a shot. The back wall firms up so much, and holding on target becomes almost effortless. It is not for everyone, and some may be more comfortable with the heavier holding weight. However, shooters truly owe it to themselves to give a high let-off set up like the React an honest shot. To put things into perspective, at 90% let-off and a 70-pound peak weight, shooters are only holding 7 pounds at the back end of the draw cycle.

The Evolve Cam system provides a pleasurable shooting experience in part because of the high let-off, but also because of how easy it is to draw and manage the cam roll overs. The draw cycle is just comfortable, and the performance from a cam so easy to draw is pretty unreal. The back wall is solid, the valley is generous, and holding on target is as easy as it gets. Shooters do not have to fight the cam to keep it at full draw, and it takes a lot to relax enough to where the string wants to creep forward. After the shot, there is almost no vibration felt. There are more vibration free models on the market, but this one is not going to chatter your teeth or anything crazy either. The riser is a bit less reflexed than some other models in the lineup, and the 7-inch brace height will make it a pretty forgiving model all things considered. This bow shoots like a much more expensive model, and should win over a lot of shooters in 2018.

Usage Scenarios

The React is going to be used primarily for hunting more than likely. there is a possibility with a 33-inch axel to axel measurement shooters may try to use this as a 3D bow as well, although there may be some better options for that. From an accuracy standpoint, the React will do well in a treestand, and with the weekend warrior 3D shoots, but it is going to appeal to bowhunters the most.

PSE React vs. PSE Evolve 35

Bow PSE React
Version 2018
Picture PSE React
Brace Height 7 "
AtA Length 33 "
Draw Length 26 " - 31.5 "
Draw Weight 50 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed 322 fps - 330 fps
Weight 3.9 lbs
Let-Off 80% - 90%
Where to buy
Best prices online
Before getting too excited, a comparison of a flagship and a more budget friendly bow is usually a landslide victory for the more expensive model. With these two models sharing the same cam system, the decision gets a little tougher. For some shooters, the Evolve 35 is a bit long for their hunting needs, and the Reacts shorter axel-to-axel measurement gives them a relatively long bow, while still being compact enough to work in their hunting situation. For those willing to budge a bit on the riser technology by going with some older tech, the React really is fairly competitive to the PSE Evolve 35. It is lighter, more compact, and cheaper, which makes it very appealing to some shooters with their eyes set on the Evolve 35. Both models are great shooting bows, and it is great to have PSE creating some competition within its lineup to give every shooter options for what works best in their situation.

Summary

The React bow is a great value at $799. Shooters are getting the Evolve Cam System, in a high let-off, long brace height package for hunters wanting the best feeling draw cycle without breaking the bank. there are some compromises in regards to the riser technology, but there is nothing subpar, just less advanced engineering. For those wanting a new hunting bow at a more reasonable price point, there may not be a better value in 2018 than the PSE React. This bow truly competes with the Pro Series models featuring this cam system, has optimal hunting specifications, and feels really good in hand. It is one of the lightest, highest performing aluminum riser bows in the PSE lineup. It shoots unbelievably well, and will make a ton of shooters very happy this year.




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